Nigella’s risotto bolognese

Risotto bolognese probably shouldn’t be a thing. But what a thing it is. I know I’m always banging on about risotto, but I make no apologies for writing about this one- it’s comforting and tasty and ideal as a bit of a Saturday night treat. Honestly- you could do a lot worse than plonking yourself down in front of a decent film with a bowl of this to shovel into your gob.

This is my own version of Nigella’s recipe, which I can’t find on her website or the BBC one. It is in her Kitchen book though (incidentally my favourite of her books so far).

Ingredients

  • 4 rashers of bacon, excess fat trimmed off
  • An onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • A small carrot, scrubbed and grated
  • A stick of celery, chopped roughly
  • Three cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Olive oil
  • A tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Marsala
  • Milk
  • 3 bay leaves
  • A beef stock cube
  • 250g lean beef mince
  • 150g risotto rice
  • A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Parmesan

Snip the bacon into tiny pieces and fry in a dry pan until it’s starting to get nicely crispy.

Put the onion, carrot, celery and garlic into a food processor and whizz until well puréed. Add a small amount of olive oil to the bacon pan and add the mush from the food processor. Cook over a medium heat for about five minutes.

Whizz the chopped tomatoes in the food processor and add these to the pan as well. Add a glug of marsala and a splash of milk, along with the bay leaves and crumbled stock cube. Stir everything together and leave on a low heat for a bit.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, brown the beef mince and drain off any excess fat. Stir the risotto rice into the beef.

Boil a kettleful of water.

Start to add the tomato sauce to the beef/ rice mixture a ladleful at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the moisture before adding the next ladleful. When all the tomato sauce has been used up, start to add boiling water from the kettle, roughly a ladleful at a time, still allowing the rice to absorb it before adding the next one. Keep doing this until the rice is cooked. This could take 20 to 30 minutes.

Turn off the heat and stir in the parsley and a generous amount of parmesan. Season with pepper to taste (you probably won’t need salt as the bacon is salty). Divide into bowls and serve with extra parmesan on top.

Serves two greedy people (but could easily feed three).

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